KISSIMMEE, FLA. – Finishing with a 3-1 record at the International Softball Congress (ISC) Winter-Invitational was the USA Softball Men’s Futures Team. Despite a schedule adjustment due to weather in the area, the Red, White and Blue went 3-0 with victories over Ohio Battery (Ashland, Ohio), Ostrander Norsemen (Ostrander, Minn.) and Rio Grande Senators (Midland, Texas) on opening day before falling to KC Monarchs (Kansas City, Kan.).
“This weekend was a great example of the Men’s National Team program’s future,” said Men’s National Team Head Coach, Ron Hackett (Richmond, Va.). “The players showed a lot of promise and are great representatives of USA Softball’s bright future. A continued focus of our staff to identify and develop talent at the grassroots level across the country is key to our success going forward.”
USA Men’s Futures Team 3, Ostrander Norsemen 0
Grant Sailors (Wabash, Ind.) and Phil Zimmerman (New Holland, Pa.) combined to throw a 3-0 shutout against Ostrander Norsemen in their first game of the tournament. The U.S. got on the board early after Dusten Rutt (Ephrata, Pa.) singled and Tyler Albert (Montoursville, Pa.) went yard for a two-run home run in the second inning. In the third inning, Blaine Milheim (Eaton Rapids, Mich.) doubled before plating a third run for the U.S. on a passed ball.
USA Men’s Futures Team 3, Ohio Battery 1
All three runs came in the first inning for the USA Men’s Futures. Milheim hit a one-out single and Branden Rutt (Robesonia, Pa.) was issued a walk before an error by the shortstop during Zack Schreck’s (Jersey Shore, Pa.) allowed all three to score. In the circle for the U.S. was Brogan Poll (South Weber, Utah) and Adrian Leal (South Houston, Texas), who held Ohio Battery to just one run.
USA Men’s Futures Team 4, Rio Grande Senators 0
No. 1 in the lineup and plating the first run of the game against Rio Grande Senators was Zac Shaw (Odessa, Mo.) who led off with a double and rounded the bases after Milheim and B. Rutt were called out. The top of the lineup continued to work during their third at-bat of the game, with Shaw, Milheim and Schreck crossing home to make it 4-0. Leal and Zimmerman combined for the second shutout of the day and allowed just three hits.
USA Men’s Futures Team 2, KC Monarchs 3
Despite holding KC Monarchs scoreless through the first three innings and retiring the side twice, the USA Men’s Futures dropped the narrow 3-2 decision to finish their run at the ISC Winter Invitational. Down 3-0 and looking to spark a rally, Albert drew a walk before crossing home on an RBI triple from Dalton Gray (South Jordan, Utah). Brogan Poll (South Weber, Utah) singled and a passed ball scored Gray to cut the Monarchs’ lead but the Futures were unable to plate any additional runs, ending their tournament run.
Tyler Albert (Montoursville, Pa.), Dante Biagini (San Francisco, Calif.), Dalton Gray (South Jordan, Utah), Adrian Leal (South Houston, Texas), Blaine Milheim (Eaton Rapids, Mich.), Jimbo Pernetti (Ceres, Calif.), Brogan Poll (South Weber, Utah), Branden Rutt (Robesonia, Pa.), Dusten Rutt (Ephrata, Pa.), Grant Sailors (Wabash, Ind.), Zack Schreck (Jersey Shore, Pa.), Zac Shaw (Odessa, Mo.), and Phil Zimmerman (New Holland, Pa.) competed for the USA Men’s Futures Team this tournament and will be considered for selection to the Pan American Qualifier team by the Men's National Team Selection Committee (MNTSC).
Hackett, Vahram Mateosian (Montvale, N.J.), Nick McCurry (Ashland, Ohio), and Gerald Muizelaar (Grand Forks, N.D.) made up the USA Men’s Futures Team coaching staff.
Held at the Fortune Road Complex (2500 Fortune Rd), the USA Men’s Futures Team joined 11 other teams in Kissimmee, Fla., which included Alvinston Aces (Alvinston, Ontario), AWP Lumberjacks (Du Quoin, Ill.), East Bay Bashers (Hayward, Calif.), Hill United Chiefs (Ohsweken, Ontario), Houston Patriots (Houston, Texas), KC Monarchs (Kansas City, Kan.), Ohio Battery (Ashland, Ohio), Ostrander Norsemen (Ostrander, Minn.), Rio Grande Senators (Midland, Texas), The Bar (Appleton, Wisc.), and Toronto Batmen (Toronto, Ontario).
The USA Softball Men’s Futures Team provides athletes in the United States with an opportunity to represent USA Softball while bridging the gap of opportunities between the Junior Men’s and Men’s National Team programs. In addition to competing in high-level events, the Futures Team allows for members of the U.S. coaching staff to develop and evaluate a pool of athletes for the MNT roster.